I enjoyed doing my MA. It was at King’s College London, so I got to spend hours every day in the incredible Maughan library in Chancery Lane, as well as the indispensable Senate House. Among other things (such as an excellent course in the literature of Medieval London), I studied Germanic Philology: specifically Old Saxon, Old High German and Gothic, as well as Old English. I travelled to Switzerland, where I actually held in my hands the oldest surviving text in the German language, the twelve-hundred year old ‘Abrogans‘ manuscript. In terms of ‘which medieval’ I studied – Anglo-Saxon or Middle English, early medieval or late, I preferred to look at the middle ground, at the supposed boundary areas where one period becomes another. How language was affected by the way its speakers chose to convert to Christianity, in Germany at least, and in England, the way French imposed itself upon English in its transition to what we call Middle English. I argued against the supposition that cross-Channel antagonism in the Hundred Year’s War led to the downfall of spoken French in England. It was all very interesting, and I learnt a massive amount, mostly about how to conduct academic research; however, I have not done quite as much research since, just bits here and there. I moved to America a week after handing in my dissertation and have lived here ever since.
A couple of sketches, a week apart, both lunchtime scenes from the Silo at UC Davis. I’ve sketched there once or twice before. I don’t know who the couple are. I drew this a couple of years ago with a caption about how overheard conversations are not very interesting. However, I did overhear one conversation, two young students talking, one girl impressing the other girl with her knowledge of ancient Greek tales, particularly the fall of Troy. The other had not seen the film, she said. Well the first went into minute detail about the events of the war, right up to the Trojan horse (which was the point of the conversation, as she was explaining the meaning behind the phrase), which according to her was filled with Trojans, not Greeks, Trojans who were invading Troy. I smiled. It made a change from all the talk of budget cuts and furloughs.